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4 stars Led Zeppelins most progressive album with the outstanding "Rain Song" and the powerhouse instrumentation of "The Song Remains the Same" I think for a progressive fan just getting into Zeppelin, this would be the most feasible choice as it is quite good. One thing I've wondered is why "No Quarter" is so badly produced. With a proper Rhodes and better guitar tone, not to mention no vocal processing, this one could have been much better! Nonetheless, great album from Led Zep.
Report this review (#99984)
Posted Thursday, November 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars I'll be nice and give another this album half star so it come to 3,5 stars really!!

Graced with an outstanding and fascinating colour filtered pictures (both inside and outside) on the nameless gatefold, this album is one of the two "proggier" albums of Zep along with its predecessor. But the album is terribly uneven and musically completely unfocused (much more so that the Runes album before it).

The album starts out with a pair of tracks that are usually played successively (they blend so nicely into each other too) and although both Song Remains The Same and the Rain Song are well above the average of this album (and the rest of their future discography), they are followed by another great track Over The Hills, but then that is almost it..... Finished!!

Well I did say: almost, because there is still their best track ever coming soon. But set aside No quarter for a moment, and look at the second part of the album's track list: really, is there any real reason to boasts loudly at how great this album is? Sure fans may actually like that wide and unfocused spectrum of (sub-par) tracks that are just non-sense rockers (Crunge), reggae (D'yer), nostalgia (Dancing Days) and uninspiration (Ocean), but this proghead says NO!!! And the real sad fact is that their greatest track is unfortunately stuck in between that flood of fillers and misses. Yes, the superb No Quarter should've been on the good side A (to have it become a superb side A), and the ridiculous Crunge should've been bumped on the side B. No Quarter is Zep at its apex; probably at the top of their songwriting abilities with Percy diving into solemn Viking mythology, these seven minutes are one (if not the only) reason why Zep is included on our beloved Archives.

A very uneven album, which I (had I been the producer) would have chosen to make even more uneven by swapping two tracks, thus with that change then creating a completely schizophrenic album, this album would've made much more sense. Yes there are some incredible moments on this slice of wax, but there are also some huge flaws as well.

Report this review (#99994)
Posted Thursday, November 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of my favourites, though has not passed the test of time so well. There is this one problem every Zep -fan has to face: They did outstanding songs, but they didn't to unremarkable albums.

In any case, this is a must have. Starting with "The Song Remains The Same", a classic rock tune with awesome vocals and guitars. The beauty of the "Rain Song" is hard to describe, it's stunning. I suggest you all watch the youtube version where Page & Plant does the song with orchestra. "Over The Hills And Far Away" has always been one of my favourites. A classic ballad with beautiful vocals and harmonies.

"The Crunge" and "Dancing Days", yes they are weaker. I suppose these two are just recorded for fun, never really got them... But the last 3 songs are outstanding. From "the happiness of 'D'yer Ma'ker'" through the haunting "No Quarter" and ending to the awesome "Ocean"

Yes this album is a must have, but not a masterpiece. When I was thirteen I could have given this one 2112 stars but now... Well a fine album.

Report this review (#100002)
Posted Thursday, November 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Good album, and if you really want to you can consider it a concept album, but if you don't want to, than that's just fine with me. The concept (for those wanting it to be a concept album) is a band on tour, playing in the Houses of the Holy (concert halls) for a crowd of fans (The Ocean) and wherever they play The Song Remains The Same (which was originally titled Overture).

Good music, throughout, with some outstanding tracks. The album kicks in with the great "The Song remains the same" exciting guitars, great funky bass lines and very well sung, the greatness continuous in "The Rain Song" with marvelous singing, great accoustic guitars and an orchestral mellotron giving it a classical feel. the end section get's increasingly intense Just beautifull. "Over The Hills and Far Away" starts with a nice acoustic intro, but soon the electrics kicks in with a nice solo, ending with a harpsichord outro. After that the funky frenetic James Brown tribute "The Crunge" sees Plant looking for a bridge.

Side two starts with the great opening riff to "Dancing Days" the song gets a little repetitive, but Plant's singing is top notch as is the hypnotisingly beautifull guitar riff. "D'yer ma'ker" title is a play on words, and pronounciation, a reggea pastiche, good music, but as reggae it wouldn't pass the test really, great fun though. "No Quarter" is the epic of the album, and undoubtfully one of their proggiest tracks, and also one of their most beautifull songs IMO Keyboards and mellotron by John Paul are absolutely perfect, as are the vocals. Live versions of the song features long solo's this studio version is quite compact. The album ends with the great anthemn "The Ocean" a fitting ending to this album.

A good funky, slightly progressive album, with some amazing stuff on it, though admittedly not all of it is brilliant. 4 stars for this. Listen yourself.

Report this review (#100298)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I guess the overwhelming success of LZ4 made the members of the band feel that they had exhausted their supply of straight ahead rock and roll and they felt the need to go wherever their collective imagination would take them. I'm just not sure where that was. What we got was a very strange album that left most of their fans scratching their heads. We didn't want or expect a clone of the previous LP but this was a directionless trip into the twilight zone. I'll just leave it at that. "Dancing Days" and "Over the hills and far away" are the standout cuts included and they got their requisite airplay throughout the mid 70s but I can only recommend this album to the die-hards and those who like extremely experimental and moody meanderings through what I consider average material at best. If you have yet to own one of their albums this really isn't the place to start.
Report this review (#100595)
Posted Monday, November 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Another solid album by the hard rock kings! The Rain Song is very inspiring, and interesting. The Song Remains the Same is always fun, but kind of empty. Unlike other Zeppelin releases, I can easily listen to just about every track here without moaning or skipping. No Quarter was possibly Zeppelin's most artistic attempt ever, and I, myself, am very pleased with the result.But because of its simplicity (compared to pure prog bands), and its lack of a genuine artistic disposition, this album fails to please utterly.
Report this review (#101032)
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Both in it's value to progressive fans and in the quality of the songs contained therein, Houses Of The Holy is the most important album in the band's esteemed discography. Here we see Led Zeppelin at their most experimental since III, but without discarding their hard rock, Zeppelin sound as they nearly did on that album.

The album contains only two genuine prog tracks, "No Quarter" and "The Rain Song" both of which are simply fantastic. On these tracks, as well as a majority of the album, we see John Paul Jones trading in the base for the Mellotron and the synthesizer which adds a much welcomed progressive sound to the album, as well as a new depth to the music. The remaining songs resemble I-IV Led Zeppelin more, but all show some experimentation at least at the level of combining different genres with their hard rock, such as funk on "The Crunge" and reggae on "D'yer Maker".

The music easily merits five stars on a normal grading scale, but for the purpose of this website the album will receive 4. Even the category Prog-Related is a stretch for Led Zeppelin's most progressive of albums.

Report this review (#101434)
Posted Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is less interesting for me, despite having the very good songs "No Quarter" and "The Rain Song", on which Jones shines as a keyboard player. Other good songs from this album are "The Song Remains the Same", "Over the Hills and Far Away" (with very good acoustic guitars) and "The Ocean" (with backing vocals by Bonham). The commercial song "D´yer Ma´ker" is very known and still played in FM "Oldies" Radio Stations in my city. "The Song Remains the Same", "The Rain Song" and "No Quarter" are better in the live versions included in their "The Song Remains the Same" live album, IMO.

Their next album is much better than this, which sounds like LZ was in a "temporary stagnation".

Report this review (#102461)
Posted Sunday, December 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I can see that I am out voted on this one. Again IMHO Houses Of The Holy is worthy of a five star rating. This is more consistent than IV in the overall finished product. Musically it was more complex and probably more progressive than IV.' The Song Remains The Same' isa great opener to the album followed by the wonderful ' Rain Song'. Not the best addition to the album but nearly. Tolkien themes surfacing here as well as on the epic ' No Quarter' on side two. Both slow burners and almost classical sounding at times.' Over The Hills and far Away' is another great song but even better is ' Dancin Days'. It has a repetitive thread which leads with a great hook and indicative of what was to follow on the double album Physical Graffiti. ' Dyer Make'r' another ' Bron-Y-aur-stomp' type pastiche' No Quarter' warrants another mention, this quite possibly one of the top three Led Zeppelin slower compositions. Seven minutes of 'classica'l guitar playing, sad and great climatic vocals, hard hitting drumwork and last but not least great instrumental contributions by JPJ. ' The Ocean' is a fitting finish to yet another masterpiece from Led Zeppelin.
Report this review (#102702)
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.1 Stars

Another excellent album from the hard rock legends! There is not much to say, as there is not any real progression here. This is a follow up to the diverse and brilliant Led Zeppelin IV and this song also proves to be brilliant and diverse, though some of the experiments don't quite work.

Starting with the powerhouse rocker The song Remains the Same you already know you're in for a wonderful musical ride. The real highlights of the album are obvious, especially for a progger's musical tastes. The Rain Song , played in an unusual guitar tuning, is a slow-paced symphonic song that in my opinion is better than the famous Stairway to Heaven. You have mellotron in this piece instead of a symphony, and I prefer the mellotrons. The song gets heavier in the later parts of it, without sacrificing the melodic beauty of the first half. No Quarter is another slow-paced song, but this one sounds dark and creepy. It has organs, piano, and synthesizers playing softly in the background during the verses until an awe-inducing guitar riff breaks the silences on the choruses. The instrumental break in the middle puts John Paul Jones in the spotlight, playing a long solo that focuses on melody and emotion, rather than virtuosity. Jimmy manages to play a guitar solo during it that sounds like if Steve Howe (Yes) played it.

Other good songs are Over the Hills and Faraway which begins with fast acoustic guitar riffs then turns into a nice rocker and The Ocean which is an accessible and radio-friendly rocker. The Crunge is an entertaining funky tune with a great bass line and a funny ending. Dancing Days while it contains an awful guitar riff in the beginning, manages to be a pretty good rock like always.

Unfortunately, D'yer M'ker is to me nothing but an irritating attempt to make a hybrid of Led Zeppelin with Reggae.

Highly recommended, as all of their pre-Presence albums are, except maybe Led Zeppelin II

Report this review (#103007)
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | Review Permalink

I remember quite well that when I purchased this album at the time of release, I was rather disappointed. I guess that I expected too much from the band in 1973. I only liked four songs from it, so I decided to go and exchange this album. I picked up "The Slider" from T. Rex instead (which I incidentally swapped for a "Best Of" from . the "Aphrodite's Child" which I sold for cheap during a music conference .

End of 1998, I purchased their entire remastered CD catalog in one shot. Will my feeling have changed for HOTH ? Well, frankly, yes. It was the one album I played the most during this "second discovery". During three months or so, I will only listen to Led Zep.

My mind didn't change about two tracks which I consider weak.

"The Crunge" is their first funky tune (unfortunately followed by several ones). It is a tribute to James Brown. Most of the time, his early releases were recorded live with very little rehearsal. To give some directions to his band, he would often say : "Take it to the bridge". The "bridge" will be mentioned several time at the end of the song : "Have You Seen The Bridge" and "Where's that confounded bridge?".

The second one is "The Ocean". This one is dedicated to their US fans who will create an ocean of crowd attending their concerts : "Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean's roar Play for free, play for me and play a whole lot more, more"!

At this moment of their career, they did break all the records in attendance. Led Zeppelin earned a place in "The Guinnes Book of Records". Here is a press release to relate the event : "On May 5, 1973, a crowd of 56,800 paid $309,000 to watch Led Zeppelin perform for nearly three hours in Tampa. The largest paid concert attendance for a single musical act in the history of the United States, it topped the Beatles' previous high of 55,000 and a mere $301,000 at Shea Stadium. Records are made to be broken, but if there's any shattering to be done at this point, Led Zeppelin will probably be the ones to crack the mark again. Like their namesake, they defy gravity to ride a core of flaming vapor, the acknowledged heavyweight band champions of the world".

"The Rain Song" is very quiet all the way through, almost prog my friend ! I have a trace of this number as soon as 1971 during the recordings for their untitled album. So? It has gestated for quite a while. It features some mellotron work from Jones, but bizarrely he was not involved in the songwriting as one could have believed. It has the sweet side of a track like "Entangled" or "Ripples" (from "A Trick Of The Tail"). It is one of the very few songs related to prog Led Zep will write. IMO a total of four :"Your Time Is Gonna Come" from Led Zep I, half of "Thank You" from Led Zep II, this one and "Ten Years Gone" from "Physical Graffiti". For some aspects (mellotron) "No Quarter" might be added but while played on stage, it was extended to anything up to forty minute in a rather heavy and mighty form which leaves the studio version as a nice little ballad in comparison. I prefer the live versions of course (of which the one featured on "The Song Remains The Same" is probably one of the best available.


These two tracks grew in my perception between 1973 and 1998. "No Quarter" in particular which appears now as good track indeed to me.

So, now : the four tracks I liked at the first sight.

"Over Hill And Far Away" mixes the acoustic ballad and the hard-rock. The same had already been achived in "What Is and What Should Never Be" or "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" in that respect. This song doesn't reach the level of its great predecessors but, still it remains a good one.

"Dancing Days" has a great rhythm. Full of passion and power. While they were rehearsing it, the band was really "dancing" when listening to it. This song generates a feeling of great fun. I still really like it.

One of their most contravertial song is the reggae influenced "D'Yer Mak'er". Interesting to point out that Led Zep played reggae waaaaay before the genre became so popular (outside Jamaica). This shows that the band was attent to all the musical influences throughout their wonderful career. The melody is very catchy and unlike lots of people, I regard this song as one of the best of this very good album.

And finally "The Song Remains The Same". A great opener as Led Zep will aways propose (except in the poor "Physical Graffiti"). The musical trio is absolutely gorgeous in this track. Jones's bass work is impressive, and Bonham's drumming is rather wild. Like a few other Led Zep's songs, the guitar intro is similar to Yardbird's song "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor". Jimmy is of course brilliant. This song was born as an instrumental piece and should have been called : "The Overture". But Plant added lyrics (thank you, Robert) and his high-pitch voice is wonderful. It is my preferred song of the album.

The album will of course peak at the first spot on both sides of the Atlantic. Four stars.

Report this review (#115183)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Where's that confounded bridge?"

Possibly the only album in history whose title track was omitted and put on the next album, this is where Led Zep explored other musical genres including funk, reggae and even prog!

The opening track "The Song Remains the Same" is a storming rocker with multi-layered guitars and what sounds like a speeded- up vocal from Plant, even more storming on the film of the same name.. It segues into "The Rain Song", probably the proggiest song they ever did, a beautiful melody with mellotron and piano work from Jones. As with the first track, I prefer the live version on the film soundtrack but this is still a wonderful number. "Over the Hills and Far Away" starts off with Plant singing over acoustic guitar in a slightly odd time signature but then changes to a more typical Zep rocker. The middle section doesn't really fit to my ears, it sounds like it was made up on the spot when they realised the song wasn't long enough. The ending is Jones with a very quiet harpsichord solo. "The Crunge" is Led Zep's answer to James Brown ("has anybody seen the bridge?") and again utilises an odd time signature in places. I didn't like "Dancing Days" much until a read a quote from Plant about how they danced around on the lawn whilst listening to a playback, and then it seemed to slot into place. "D'ya mak'er" (the title comes from an old joke not worth repeating here) is the reggae number. Lyrically not one of their best but it is an infectious melody and Bonham excels here. One of the few Zep songs I've heard played on the radio. "No Quarter" again shows the proggy side of the band and this is pretty much Jones' number on the electric piano. The extended version on "The Song Remains the Same" is probably the highlight of that album. The final song is "The Ocean" (which refers to the waving hands of the audience) where yet again the crunching guitar riff (which follows a count in from Bonham) is in an odd time signature. The track ends with a rock'n'roll section featuring doo-wops from Plant.

They ran into trouble with the cover for this one - particularly with the background colouring - and it caused much controversy over the naked children. Genre- wise it's probably their most varied album and certainly their proggiest.

Report this review (#116397)
Posted Monday, March 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars.This is my third favourite ZEPPELIN album. And if it wasn't for "The Crunge" and "D'yer Maker" this would be a 5 star record in my opinion. I actually like the variety that is found on this album, I just could have done without the funky "The Crunge" (should have been the cringe), that makes me wonder if they were doing this as a tribute to James Brown or someone else from the early beginnings of rock and roll. "D'yer Maker" brings to mind the reggae style of music and is at least something I can listen to. Now the rest.

"The Song Remains The Same" is a song that just makes me feel so good. I love the guitar that seems to overlap everything else. "California sunshine..." Oh yeah ! "The Rain Song" is about "the seasons of emotions". How beautiful is this song. Waves of mellotron as well in this one. 5 minutes in it really gets quite passionate with some beautiful guitar melodies.

"Over The Hills And Far Away" features some more intricate guitar work from Page. I like the way the song builds. Robert is in fine form as well. "I live for my dream and a pocket full of gold.." "Dancing Days" is another great song. I like the guitar melody to open. "No Quarter" is one of their best ! Synths, bass and drumming are all incredible. Nice piano later as well. "The Ocean" opens rather bombastically. Plant is nothing short of amazing ! Great lyrics as well.

I've never understood why this isn't loved more by ZEPPELIN fans. Maybe it's because it followed "IV" I don't know, but if you don't have it. Do yourself a favour and get it.

Report this review (#117744)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars On this classic album the band's singer starts to reach the spheres of irritation so high, that I can't bear it anymore. The dynamic opener tracks "The Song Remains The Same" and "The Rain Song" are very fine rock compositions, but they get much better treatment on their 1976 double live album. Here the stuff sounds somewhat sterile to my ears, and the way of screaming vocals ruin my own personal listening experience. In addition to the songs mentioned, the real gem here is "No Quarter" which evolves slowly and interestingly, also the Robert's voices have been treated with some effects which I do not consider as a bad thing. In addition to these songs there are too much "air-head" material on this album, down ranking it from artistic music to pure basic rock'n'roll. If you want such classic stuff from the 1970's, this isn't maybe the worst pick. The classic album gatefold covers are surely fine.
Report this review (#119213)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As reported, by the time the band was ready to write their material for the fifth album which later was known as "Houses of The Holy", Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones have their own studio, individually. It changed the way they work together in composing music. John was presenting to the other members "No Quarter" with his keyboard outburst while Page was presenting his complete arrangement of "The Rain Song". [Ref. "Led Zeppelin - The Complete Guide to Their Music", Dave Lewis]. The whole album itself was recorded at Stargroves, Mick Jagger's country estate in Berkshire. The album reached no 1 in UK and in US.

"The Song Remains The Same" (5:29) with Page soaring riffs and dynamic drumming of Bonham opens the album in an energetic fashion. This attractive song no wonder becomes the title track of Zeppelin's film. This song is about a morale story on if you give something it will come back to you again that's why the name is like that. "The Rain Song" has moved away from traditional Led Zeppelin's song with darker nuance and mellow style with mellotron-drenched rhythm section at background. The orchestral arrangement by John Paul Jones has made this song interesting. "Over The Hills And Far Away" (4:49) is another excellent track that has become legendary and many bands have covered this song including Nightwish -a power metal band from Finland.

"No Quarter" (7:00) is definitely one of the best compositions the band has ever created. One might wonder how this kind of music was created by Led Zeppelin with their heavy metal attribute. "No Quarter" has indeed some jazz components blended nicely with heavy metal music. The Bonham drum session is quite unique at this song with special tunings on snare and tom. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#120978)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Finally, after a four years of existence, LED ZEPPELIN did it; they produced a masterpiece. This one is their most progressive effort (except for "The song Remains The Same" live soundtrack), but that's NOT the reason why it's a five-star material.

It's hard-boiled, raw & tender in the same time, scary and happy, daring, experimental, mature. It's simply good. It's also somewhat cold (despite the occasional reggae overtones) - which usually distracts to fully appreciate the albums, but not in this case.

The album is balanced well - from the spasmodic riffs in "The Song Remains The Same" and slow, rolling electric monster in "The Ocean" to mellow, introspective, jazzy "Rain Song" soaked with gorgeous Mellotron arrangements.

"The Crunge" is rhythmical funky madness, it set up the standards for a certain genres of music that are yet to be discovered. And that IS progressive rock

"No Quarter" is one of the best songs ever written, again decades before it's time. It will took three decades and dawning of the genre called trip-hop to enable the wider audience to appreciate the song in it's full glory. The live version from "The Songs..." is even more powerful, and PAGE AND PLANT's 90's "unledded" reunion version is very different, but not less impressive...there's a certain something withing the core of the song which makes it so unique.

"Over The Hill And The Far Away" is providing another insane electric jive, no less impressive than "The Ocean" or in "The Song..."... Imagine the best, furious melting electric moments from "III" and move Page's groundbreaking bravurosity one step forward.

The two weakest tracks (but not exclusively weak by no means) on the album are "Dancing Days" and "D'yer Mak'er" (pronounced "DJAMAICA"). Interesting thing is they are both "warmer" tracks on a "colder" album, but they aren't out of place here, "Dancing Days" utilising some heavy riffing, and ""D'yer Mak'er", of course, reggae rhythms, Bonzo hitting the snares like a possessed maniac. It's a bit weaker lyrically-wise; but I think that's intentional - it's simply fits nicely into the overall picture. Speaking of lyrics, there are a lot of moments containing naïve flower-power lyrical attitude, but somehow blended with such a monstrosity of music, they sound almost like a prophecy.

In general, the influnece of LED ZEPPELIN on contemporary music is far from being over....and this album might have a significant role...again.

Report this review (#125428)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is a real puzzle, and was a great let-down to me after the heroic heights of LED ZEPPELIN IV.

Like many musicials who make it big, the members of LED ZEPPELIN now (in 1972/3) no longer have ordinary lives. This is reflected in their songwriting. The album is loosely conceptual, based around he concept of a tour (guess what they'd been doing before recording this album). This is similar to what PINK FLOYD did in the late '70s with 'The Wall', though not as overt.

But, with three exceptions, the songwriting is not up to it. Where's the bombast? The jungle-heavy drums? The crisp production? The flow? None of it is here. Instead we have a retreat to the tentative days of III. That said, there are parallels to their previous album: 'Dancing Days' is this album's 'Black Dog', and 'The Rain Song' fills the 'Stairway' gap. But there was nothing like 'No Quarter', a magnificent progressive epic, on any previous ZEP album.

There are some true stinkers here. 'D'yer Mak'er' is lame, both in the ill-advised reggae lift and in the weak pun. 'The Crunge' is another poorly executed stab at a different musical genre (in this case funk). It must have been designed to grate on the nerves. Listening to this is like finding a plastic fly in your soup: you know it was intended, but it's still not funny. 'The Ocean' has a heavy rock intro and descends into doo-wap.

Two steps forward (with IV), and one step back with this album. Fortunately things would be addressed on the truly magnificent PHYSICAL GRAFFITI, which found LED ZEPPELIN once again at the top of their form.

Report this review (#134346)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars LED ZEPPELIN “Houses of Holy” 2.5

Unfortunately this is where LZ failed at the first time. I mean it’s good, but who can make something better than “IV”? Everybody expected a masterpiece again I guess, but ZEPs just did a good, somewhat laid-back album. Opener is a strong track, “No Quarter” and “The Rain Song” are classy LZ tracks, but any other taken from it would look pale on any preceding LZ album. “The Crunge” is hardly bearable, it holds the title of least favourite LZ track of mine. This is where they’ve shown their weak sides, this is where they’ve shown that they’re Gods no more, they’re Mortals and they can make mistakes. And they should, why not?

Best tracks: “No Quarter”, “The Rain Song”, “The Song remains the Same”, “D’yer mak’er”

Report this review (#141379)
Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite Zeppelin album!!

The Rain Song is pure bliss, Led Zeppelin's crowning acheivement in beauty and perfection.

Houses of the Holy takes everything Zeppelin experimented with on their earlier albums and meshed them all together on this album. The folksy, acoustic sound of III is apparent on a few tracks (Over the Hills and Far Away).

Maybe its hard to say exactly WHAT this music is because its simply Zeppelin's own sound. Jimmy Page plays flawlessly, as usual, and Robert Plant sings his heart out with his ever-eroding voice, but does well just the same.

Reggae and Soul are experimented with also, The Crunge and D'yer Ma'ker. Each track is different from one another, but each track is enjoyable and timeless, i was very surprised with it on my first listen.

To me, this is when Led Zeppelin peaked, all though i like all of the following albums (all the way up to In Through the Out Door), they never made an album with such a variety of styles that blended together so well after Houses of the Holy.

So to hear Led Zeppelin's most polished album, Houses of the Holy is the one to hear.

Report this review (#142141)
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars LED ZEPPELIN IV generated of one the most famous & brilliant tours of a band in the 70´s (and maybe ever). The end of the tour culminated with the shows at the MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, 1972, which resulted in the well suceeded double live album in 76 (and the film, of course). At this moment the band was starting to present the new songs from HOUSES OF THE HOLY, which were very well received by media and fans. HOUSES were in a certain way a major breakdown. Far from the mystic elements deeply present in the first 4 albums, this time ZEPPELIN turned into a more comercial hard-rock vein. Comercial, altough not stupid or lame. Filled with some gorgeous hard-rock material ( THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME, DANCIN´ DAYS & THE OCEAN), all of them rich in quite inspired riffs, HOUSES presents a "funny" side of ZEPPELIN never seen until that moment. Using elements of the newborn modern reaggae (D´YER MAKER) or elements of funky-soul (THE CRUNGE), Page & co. could paint other faces in the LED ZEPPELIN catalogue of soul personalities. It´s worthwhile to remember that all songs carry a new element introduced by the band at that time: quite clearly in the inovative arrangements or in some new sonorities driven by studio or pedal effects. RAIN SONG is a marvelous and heavenly song, and another majestic LED ZEPPELIN ballad, lead by John Paul Jones on Mellotron and Piano. OVER THE HILLS... is a quasi-acoustic melody, that run into a delightful hard-rock, and NO QUARTER is a progressive masterpiece that shows all brilliantism of John Paul Jones as a major composer.

Altough too much diverse for a ZEPPELIN fan´s taste, and bringing the impression that the order of the songs seems not well choosen, HOUSES OF THE HOLY is a very, VERY well produced album to be rated as a four star. Majestic and, again, obligatory.

Report this review (#144329)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not exactly a consensus building effort, eh mates?

Houses was always an album near and dear to my heart. While containing some of the band's very finest moments it is an effort plagued by the usual inconsistencies found on most Zeppelin albums.

We start very strong with SRTS showing Page's ever increasing talents not only in playing but in the producer's chair, intuitively layering guitars to create such a great overall sound. It's a song that like most Zeppelin songs will grow into something much more special live on stage, when the grooves are electrified by Bonham and Jones in action. Next is the stunningly beautiful Rain Song, a piece that is not only among my favorite LZ tracks but with a melody as memorable and haunting (in a good way) as anything I've ever heard. It's a song that in the live setting transforms to a poignancy few bands will ever achieve. The same can be said for No Quarter with its earthy and powerful mystery, good here but mindblowing on stage. Over The Hills shows off some catchy songwriting, and again just listen to the nice arrangements of the various instruments. That's the great half. The other four songs were a bit dodgy, not awful, but certainly not in the same league with the good stuff. The Crunge is a bit of funky humor. Dancing Days and The Ocean are rather average straight-up rockers. And Dyer Maker is a cute reggae flavored pop-number that was a big radio hit but made every Zep fan I know roll their eyes a bit.

Young Zep newbies must know that Houses is a recommended album for the first three songs and No Quarter. Although if you already have live versions of the good songs on other CDs you could really afford to put your dollars elsewhere. These studio versions pale in comparison. 3 ½ stars.

Report this review (#144527)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Led Zeppelin's influence on rock music since the 1970s cannot be denied and that certainly includes progressive rock, even if they themselves were more of a blues or heavy rock group. I remember that they also cited folk artists and singer songwriters as influences, so it is not surprising that they produced an album like "Houses of the Holy", which pays homage to their many interests. You are bound to find a few items to your taste here, but, by the same token, you are unlikely to find it all agreeable, unless you are extremely eclectic and forgiving of more than a few missteps.

Sure, it's hard to find fault with "Rain Song" and its morose mellotronic meanderings. Likewise "Over the Hills and Far Away" is an ingenious blend of pastoral folk and hard rock, "D'yer Ma'ker" a delightfully kitsch call to arms for the burgeoning reggae movement, and "No Quarter" perhaps the most progressive song of their career, a daring piece that must have shocked their by then legion of fans. In fact the overall genre spanning approach taken on this album is itself highly progressive. However, forays into funk ("The Crunge"), old rock n roll ("Dancing Days"), and falsetto imitations of Yes ("Song Remains the same") are just as weak, making this album a mixed bag on the quality plane.

I feel that 3 stars is the logical rating for this, one of the Led Zep albums of greater interest to the prog community, even if many do worship at its feet.

Report this review (#152633)
Posted Sunday, November 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another fine effort, Houses of the Holy sees Led Zeppelin broaden their horizons a bit by incorporating elements of reggae ("D'yer Ma'ker") and funk ("The Crunge") into their sonic repertoire. Rain Song and No Quarter border on being true progressive rock with significant keyboard colorings by John-Paul Jones. "Over the Hills and Far Away" is a lovely song with beautiful acoustic guitar work by Page. "The Ocean" is one of those timeless rockers. Rhythm work by Jones and Bonham are superlative on the entire record. Plant's vocals Again, Plant amply demonstrates his ability to tackle a number of different song styles. The weakest link on the entire record is the remarkably overplayed and underinspired "Dancing Days". This is another solid record. In my opinion, this record is not quite as good as Led Zep I, II or IV. Despite this, it is still a full four star recording.
Report this review (#154481)
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Causeway to mediocrity

"Houses of the holy" is often identified as the band's most progressive release, yet it is among their least familiar and least popular. The blues influences of the early albums are almost eradicated here, being replaced by even older styles including classical music. After their early prolific period, it took almost two years from the release of "Led Zeppelin IV" for "Houses. . ." to appear. By this time, expectations were high, with music fans expecting the band to come up with another "Stairway to heaven" at least. The band did their best to oblige, even using a mellotron and synthesisers to orchestrate the sound, but in general the material lacks the dynamics and originality of previous releases.

The album opens with "The song remains the same", a piece which was originally intended to be an instrumental "Overture". Robert Plant's vocals are speeded up slightly, thus sounding higher and less gritty than normal. This gives the song a sort of Rush feel (or is that the other way round!) but the overriding flavour of the track is muddled and unfocussed. "The rain song", which follows, is a rare Led Zeppelin ballad with mellotron orchestration played by John Paul Jones. It is sort of in the way of "Thank you" from Led Zeppelin 2", but Plant's vocals are rather more weedy. The mellotron sound is wonderful though, and at 7½ minutes, this is the longest track on the album.

"Over the hills and far away" is not the Gary Moore song of the same name. This is another acoustic number, but it is generally more upbeat with a lead guitar break. For me, it introduces the weakest series of consecutive tracks on any Led Zeppelin album. "The crunge", is credited to all four band members as it grew out of a jam session. It is devoid of music, lyrical content, and inspiration and for me is not worthy of any album, let a lone one by Led Zeppelin. "Dancin' days" is an average pop rock number. "D'yer mak'er", which is roughly pronounced "Jamaica", is a reggae influenced song, the title's play on words intending to reflect this. It is though, another instantly forgettable disappointment.

Fortunately, an element of respectability is restored with the final two tracks. The 7 minute "No quarter", which became a live favourite, is a "What is and what should never be" type loud and soft song. It features distorted vocals and liquid guitar sounds, the whole song appearing on the album at a slightly slower speed than it was recorded in order to manipulate the final sound.

The album closes with "The ocean", the title referring to the sea of people in the audience at a Led Zeppelin gig. The track has a distinctive riff, and as a whole probably comes closest to the blues rock of previous releases. At times, it sounds like a misguided attempt to create a "Black dog, part 2".

In all, a very disappointing album for a Led Zeppelin release. While a few of the tracks are adequate, none offer the excitement generated by previous releases.

Strangely, the track from which the album title is taken was dropped prior to release, only later appearing on "Physical graffiti". (See also ELP's "Brain salad surgery" and Queen's "Sheer heart attack"). The artwork for the album was and remains highly controversial, displaying naked, possibly alien, children climbing the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Indeed it is extremely likely that had the album been released today, the image would not have been considered acceptable at all.

Report this review (#155899)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After the brilliance of their fourth album Led Zeppelin had a lot to live up to. Its release was delayed until March 1973 due to problems with the sleeve. As IV had been released in 1971 by the standards of the time this was quite a large gap between albums and unfortunately although it has some great moments, overall Houses of the Holy was somewhat of a disappointment. This however did not stop it selling by the bucket load. The band were now getting more experimental, indeed this can be seen to be their most Progressive release but far from their best. There was also a couple of gimmicky tracks which although it's plain to see the band were having much fun spoilt the flow of the album.

Things get off to a positive start with The Song Remains The Same, an up tempo song with many guitar parts from Jimmy Page ranging from picking to powerchords with some excellent soloing too. The one downside of the track is that Robert Plant's vocal's have been speeded up a little giving the impression he was on helium! A better version can be heard on the live soundtrack album of the same name. The Rain Song follows and is a lovely piece of music. Again Page shines on guitar with an unusual chord structure as does John Paul Jones on Mellotron. Plant supplies sympathetic singing whilst John Bonham takes a back seat and doesn't come in until well into the track.

Over the Hills and Far Away starts off with some nice acoustic guitar before the band pile in full force. Bonham and Jones hold down a tight groove whilst Page riffs away over the top. Not a bad track but not one of the better Zeppelin rockers. The Crunge follows and is the first of the gimmicky tracks. It's a James Brown influenced Funk number with some good Drumming from Bonham but ultimately falls a little flat and is a bit of a filler track we could well do without.

Much better is Dancing Days, the intro having an eastern vibe to it but overall the track has a happy summery feel to it. The Reggae vibe of D'yer Mak'er follows and is another disappointment and throwaway track. This is Bonhams track, his Drums well to the fore.

Onto the second Epic of the album, No Quarter is Jones' baby and his keyboards take a front seat. It's an atmospheric piece with a laid back tempo. It proves to be one of the best tracks here and also has an excellent Page riff and some lovely interplay between his Guitar and Jones' Piano.

The closing track The Ocean is an excellent Zeppelin rocker with a stop/start Page riff. Just what we needed after the gimmicky feel of The Crunge and D'yer Mak'er. If those two tracks had been replaced with more rockers along the lines of this then Houses of the Holy would have been a much more rounded album. As it is, it's good but falls short after the majesty of IV.

Report this review (#159820)
Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Here's where I think Led Zeppelin takes their boldest leap musically. The variety of music styles covered here is more notable here than any other Zeppelin album before this. While I admire their will to be a bit more experimental, many of the songs just don't work here.

Typical Zep affairs are found in ''The Ocean'' and ''Over the Hills...'', so not much discussion needs to take place here. ''No Quarter'' and ''The Song Remains the Same'' have weird prog rock vibes to them that elevate the songs, compositionally speaking. ''No Quarter'' is filled with electric keyboards sure to make the progster buzz with excitement even if I believe the guitars steal the show here. ''The Song Remains the Same'' carries this prog mystique to it in the same way that Black Sabbath songs around this time did; the only flaw is the vocal effect on Robert Plant, one of the worst studio tamperings I've ever heard.

Strangely, my choice cut here is ''The Crunge'', a lightweight, almost throwaway funky song with plenty of offish rhythms that make it interesting. The keyboard lines are hilariously splendid. Unfortunately, the fun ends with a half-lame ballad (''The Rain Song''), a laughable reggae attempt (''D'yer Maker'') and a horrible rock song (''Dancing Days'').

I never have been fond of Led Zeppelin, and this album did little to change that. Raise the rating a half-star for the experimental efforts here.

Report this review (#162488)
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Stop, stop, stop. OK, this Led Zeppelin CD is not easy to digest at first lisen. When I get it, I two years don,t listened it. Only late I discovered - how great it is. Houses Of The Holy is moody. If you want prog from Led Zeppelin, then only in Houses Of The Holy You can find it. Rain Song and No Quarter one of best prog songs of all time. And rest of album is experimental. Led Zeppelin IV is classic, but sound in it is irregular, like compilation, but Houses Of The Holy is regular with nice sound (progy sound). Album cover too prog standard.

I love all Led Zeppelin albums, but Houses Of The Holy is my favorite, because it give me little trance.

Houses Of The Holy for rockers too moody, but why progers can,t to drive in it?

Report this review (#164015)
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first Zeppelin album to have a real name - not just a number, or a suite of runes ! Houses Of The Holy contains some great songs, and is probably the most progressive Zeppelin album. Just listen to No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song or the Tolkien-inspired Over The Hills And Far Away to be convinced. With a beautiful cover art, this is an adventurous album (not as adventurous as the follower), and a great one. Just two songs I hate : the reggae D'yer Mak'er and Dancing Days.
Report this review (#164055)
Posted Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars No obvious to exceed 4 monstrous first albums of LED ZEPPELIN (especially II and IV).

But the Houses of the holy doing not bad at all, with the presence of success such as No Quarter (a classical concert that can last up to 36 minutes), D'yer Mak'er, The Rain Song, and The Song Remains The Same, song which gave its name to the Zeppelin's live at Madison Square Garden (1976).

The title of this album has to do with the song Houses of the holy released in 1975 in the sixth album of the group : Physical Graffiti. She did not, according to the group, the 'spirit' of the album.

While this album does not have the intensity of the four previous albums (as I think), there is a (good) disc for a major group in the history of rock, they are to be regarded as the godfathers of Hard Rock as well as Black Sabbath Blue Cherry and other Iron Butterfly.

Also noted as an ultra-positive point: the record sleeve, created by the collectif of designers : Hipgnosis. This is not realy a detail about this disc because it is because of it that the disc is released later than expected (Jimmy Page did not want the original artwork (a tennis racket)).

Here is my fisrt review, I hopes to do well, feel free to tell me if something is wrong in my way of doing ;)

Report this review (#166482)
Posted Saturday, April 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars With Houses Of The Holy Led Zeppelin all but left behind the Blues-Rock style that had dominated their first three albums. On tracks like the energetic, multi-layered Psych-Rock of The Song Remains The Same, the Funk driven groove of The Crunge or D'yer Mak'er's Doo-Wop/Reggae fusion Led Zeppelin are barely recognisable. This new Zep should be welcomed with open arms, every song is a different trip, a refreshing change from the sometimes predictable Blues noodlings of You Shook Me and I Can't Quit You Baby. John Paul Jones' Mellotronic orchestra and some beautifully elaborate acoustic guitar make The Rain Song a particularly stand-up piece along with the thick, intensely poignant No Quarter, one of Led Zeppelin's most overt ventures into Prog-Rock. Fundamentally there are few mistakes made here, Houses Of The Holy is an album at least on par with the brilliant Led Zeppelin IV.
Report this review (#170157)
Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Over the hills and far away from IV

Zeppelin's fifth album, Houses Of The Holy is a completely different beast from the albums released by the band before this point. While there's a lot of the band's old sound still kicking around, this one is more refined and more slick than their previous albums. It wasn't going to be an easy task following up their highest acclaimed album, IV (or Zoso, or Runes or whatever you want to call it), the band seemed to ave done well and produced what is likely their best hard rock album - maybe not the most proggy, but that's okay. The pomp, pseudo-epics may not be kicking around, but we still have some slickly written and recorded tunes that do not easily let down - including some of the Zep's best known tunes.

No mercy right off the bat, and the album is going to continue on that way. The Song Remains The Same has Plant's voice at it's highest, sometimes reminiscent of Queen's Brighton Rock (which would come out a year later, but still...) we're hit with some great hard rock. Page does what he does best and provides the riffs which Zep rides on so well while the rhythm section simply pounds along underneath. Also right off the bat a precedent is set for the album that this isn't going to be filled with particularly catchy tunes, most of them relying on a refrain rather than a chorus and most of the memorable parts come in well thought out melodies than a repeated hook. But hey, Zep's been great with that all along, no? Other heavier songs on the album include the supposedly improvised (lyrically) The Crunge with it's silly sections (''have you seen the bridge?''), and the dark No Quarter - this one more proggy thanks to it's speed and length.

Still it wouldn't be Zep without the pure rock tunes. There's a lot of those on this album, including (as previously mentioned) soe of the band's best known tunes. Over The Hills And Far Away is a calm tune with another excellent bunch of riffs from Page. Plant's voice comes in to bring in some great melodies coupled with Page's already great guitar. More great riffs come out of the later half of the album such as the wonderful Dancing Days (my personal favorite Zep song coupled with The Rover from Physical Graffiti). D'Yer Mak'er is another classic with it's smooth riff almost dipping into R&B territory, Plant provides some odd but fun vocals on this one to make for another great tune. The Ocean has yet another classic riff and some more shouting by Plant, a little bit lower in tone this time.

Of course, we can't be forgetting the longest and prettiest song on the album. Maybe not prog (although it is about 7.5 minutes), but still a wonderful piece. The Rain Song is the slowest tune on the albu with some more emotional and uplifting guitaring from Page. This song is best listened to on a cool night in the fall - absolutely wonderful and peaceful, just gorgeous. The instrumental sections are played with orchestration coming into the background to make for a very, very happy, yet slow sounding piece. One of Zep's best tunes.

For me personally, this album deserves a five star rating - but nostalgia really shouldn't take over the mark here. This may be a masterpiece by Zep, but it's not essential to every Prog collection. Every rock colleciton? Yes - but as a prog album this one is going to get a high 4. Absolutely wonderful hard rock with a slight progressive lean. Recommended to anyone who likes Led Zeppelin or 70s hard rock in any way, shape or form.

Report this review (#180746)
Posted Monday, August 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Variation being the motto of the day.

Led Zeppelin needs no introduction. Led Zeppelin is without any doubt the biggest and best rock'n'roll band this planet has ever seen. And yes, I rate them well above The Rolling Stones.

This, their fifth album follows and broaden the path they took on their legendary IV album. It opens with the very good The Song Remains The Same. That is a classic Led Zeppelin track with everything this band is known for. The following track The Rain Song prove that Led Zeppelin also can do a very lyrical track. It is very brooding and based on some brilliant guitar harmonies from the master himself; Jimmy Page. Poetry in motion. I love this track and it is the best track on this album. It also prove that Led Zeppelin also were more than a bombastic balls-to-the-wall heavy metal band. Over The Hills And Far Away also shows Led Zeppelin from a different angle than this crash-and-burn mode. The guitars are again really good. The vocals too are from the top drawer. Then the album take a nose dive with The Crunge. Funk ! A truly horrible track. Dancing Days is also a detour from the classic Led Zeppelin sound. But this one is OK with a great riff. It is not among my favorite Led Zeppelin tracks though...... D'yer Ma'ker is a bit reggae with a bit of rockabilly. Again, not a track I enjoy. I prefer the classic Led Zeppelin formula or the more mellow stuff. I prefer the live version of No Quarter (released on The Song Remains The Same soundtrack) to this studio version. But the album is finally back to classic Led Zeppelin territory. What a relief.......... I like this track. It flows and ebbs throughout. Some good keyboard work from John Paul Jones drives the track forward. John Bonham also drives the the track with some intelligent drumming. This is a superb track. The Ocean ends this album. This is another good Led Zeppelin track, but not one of my favorites. It is good though.

I am all for variations on albums. But in my view; this album is not coherent enough. The messing around with funk and reggae is a big turn off for me. The song The Crunge is in my view the big cringe. This is not a Led Zeppelin album I am listening to on a regular basis. I really only enjoy Rain Song, the title track, Over The Hills And Far Away and No Quarter. The rest is not my cup of tea.

3 stars.

Report this review (#189162)
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Houses of the Holy is the fifth studio album from UK hard rockers Led Zeppelin and the first album where they showcase their more progressive side. It´s also the first album that moves Led Zeppelin one step away from their basic bluesy hard rock sound. Led Zeppelin incorporated folky elements on Led Zeppelin III but the few progressive elements that Led Zeppelin have in their music started on Houses of the Holy IMO.

Houses of the Holy is a very varied album and it´s obvious that the band didn´t only want to be labelled as a bluesy hard rock band anymore. Houses of the Holy hosts both a funky track in The Crunge and a reggae influenced song in D´yer Ma´ker and we have to wait until the last song called The Ocean to hear the most straight bluesy hard rock song on the album. Before that we´re treated with some great songs in The Song Remains The Same and The Rain Song which employs strings and could be considered a bit symphonic. Over The Hills And Far Away is a rocker and the same can be said about Dancing Days while No Quarter is another track with progressive tendencies.

I like most songs on the album but both The Crunge and D'yer Ma'ker leaves a lot to be desired IMO. There´s nothing wrong with diversity on an album but both songs are repetitive and weak compositions that always makes me cringe in embarressement. Led Zeppelin = Reggae and Funk? No way. I´ve never been impressed by those songs.

The musicianship is excellent and as it´s hard not to be impressed with Jimmy Page inventive guitar riffing in songs like The Song Remains The Same,Dancing Days, The Rain Song and No Quarter.

The production is not too my taste. It lacks the warmth of the early albums IMO.

I´m all in for experimentation and trying new things but I think Led Zeppelin lost some of their original appeal with Houses of the Holy. Sadly they would never regain that appeal and subsequent albums just got weaker and weaker. Houses of the Holy is still an enjoyable album though and deserves either a BIG 3 star rating or a SMALL 4 star rating. I´m most inclined to give a 3 star rating though. There are simply too many weak or average moments on the album.

Report this review (#191515)
Posted Tuesday, December 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I know this album isn't too highly regarded on this site, but I have to give it five stars because it is my absolute favorite Zeppelin album. The only song that took a little time to grow on me was Dancing Days, but I really do like it now. This album was simply their most experimental to date. You've got a great funk song in The Crunge, a great reggae song in D'yer Mak'er, a classic Zeppelin blues riff-rock song in The Ocean, the beautiful Rain Song, the majestic Song Remains the Same, the eerie, but beautiful No Quarter, and the folksy Over the Hills and Far Away. Zeppelin proved with this album that they could be stylistically versatile like The Beatles, and do a better job at it, in my opinion. The guitar work in the album is the most complex that Page had ever done, and it's all genius. No Quarter is one of my favorite Zeppelin songs. The live version that is on The Song Remains the Same DVD is even better than the already stellar version on this album. In short, this album contains everything that defined Zeppelin in their first four albums and shows the group harnessing that talent to produce an intelligent and diverse album that completely defied convention as far as Led Zeppelin was concerned. This has always been and will always be my favorite album in the Zeppelin catalog.
Report this review (#193926)
Posted Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album contains four (perhaps 5) of the best Zeppelin tracks of all time. It also contains 3 listenable but average tracks that became more prevalent as the band went on from here. It still has the classic Zep sound that is never quite present after this album. From here the production gets a little slicker, the focus seems to get lost, something that I love about Zep is not quite there.

I have a special relationship with The Rain Song. From the first time I watched the Song Remains the Same film, I have loved this song and learned to play it. At first, I learned the extremely awkward and incomplete standard tuning version, which still gave me a certain pleasure to play. When I finally discovered a transcription of the piece in Page's original tuning, the world opened to me. I still remember going outside on rainy nights to strum along in a kind of communion with falling water. Experimenting with non-standard tunings became part of my musical identity and The Rain Song was the standard I set as the pinnacle.

Over the Hills and Far Away was another of the tunes that was part of my guitar training. The interplay of electric and acoustic parts was what Pagey was all about, what made Zep so much more than Sabbath, so much more than heavy metal.

Song Remains the Same, No Quarter, and The Ocean are all classics of the Zeppelin catalog that I still love after dozens if not hundreds of listens. These songs are completely distinct in feel and arrangement, a testament to the enormous breadth of Jimmy Page and the band in general.

The Crunge, Dyer Maker, Dancing Days are certainly move average songs but don't ruin the album for me. I don't feel the need to fast forward though I'd never pick them out to listen to.

This is a pretty solid 4.5 star album for me. Don't feel right rounding up to a perfect score.

Report this review (#200513)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although the trilogy of albums consisted by IV,Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti(related almost exclusevely by popularity)is clearly less 'humble' and spontaneous than the earliest Led Zeppelin material,these three albums are also fairly more satisfatory in the sum-up of the band's fantastic discography. With the passing of years,these records' pompous pretentions have become slightly clearer for our ears,but that didn't took away the music's excellence.

Here we have the band's struggle to push their music diversity to farther limits(as usual),but in a different way,considering the incorporation of truly different soundings to the album.That would be repeated further on,but so far,the range of styles presented by this band(famous for beying ecletic)had gone as far as rock,blues and folk.Houses of the Holy is filled with reggae,funk, radio pop and the first samples of true progressive rock.This strange mixture grants the album a somehow happy and mellower mood.But is also creates the exact opposite at times,a silent,obscure and delicate sounding.In conclusion,one could say that this greater scope of musical genres was ultimately healthy.

On one side we have compositions such as The Song Remains the Same and Over the Hills and Far Away,which achieve a remarkable balance between pure form classic rock n'roll and a new range of diversity.While the former is arguably one of the finest songs Led Zeppelin ever wrote,with an unique mood and multiple guitar medleys(variating from an agressive tone to a more relaxed tempo),the latter shows a succesfull attempt of radical change from the typical 4/4 blues-based classic pop rock(a style to which the band can take a fair credit for revolutioning only a few years earlier).

On the other hand,there are delicate and indeed progressive moments as The Rain Song,a beautifull lyrical ballad with remarkable synth use as complement for a perfect vocal/strings constrast,and the mind-blowing No Quarter,a journey through the obscure led all the way through by a dramatic and highly melodic organ.This is some of the band's best crafted and more complete material ever,even though it's not the usual Zeppelin school of hard rock.

And if the album lacks the more heavy and rythmic feel of it's predecesors,in the last track we're presented with one of the band's best samples of pure form rock n'roll,with the stunning and groovy The Ocean,a very simple structured song where the electric guitar shines as bright as in the album's opening piece,the aforementioned The Song Remains the Same.

The truth is this album has a relatevely serious quality drop halfway through,leaving something of a gap in between the amazing opening/closing songs.Still,this are still listenable and even enjoyable pieces,and as they take a lead row in the incorporation of new styles(so rewarding here),it wouldn't be fair to let this stand in the way of the 'masterpiece' tag Houses of the Holy truly deserves.

Report this review (#205457)
Posted Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Houses Of The Holy' - Led Zeppelin (9/10)

Despite the seemingly lacking appreciation on this site for this album (at least compared to the other works of the band) I would have to say this is my favourite Led Zeppelin album of all time; even more so than 'Led Zeppelin IV.' It is the most progressive sounding, and in basically disowning their blues roots, the band went deeper into unexplored hard rock territory by adding some new influences to their melange, including Reggae.

The song lengths are definately starting to grow here, although there are still songs that fit the conventional 'four minute' ideal. Songs like 'The Song Remains The Same' and 'The Ocean' show considerable progressive influence as well.

In terms of flow, I don't know what people are complaining about. The opener (The Song Remains The Same) is energetic and frantic, before toning down for a really warm ballad (The Rain Song,) shifting slowly into the next song (with an acoustic opener) that fires into a pretty up tempo song ('Over The Hills And Far Away.') Next is the strange and abstract-rhythmic ('The Crunge') which could be considered prog if it wasn't for it's similarity to conventional groove music. Next is 'Dancing Days' which despite it's melodic hooks and upbeat speed, is one of the darkest-sounding tracks the band has ever recorded. To break this darkness and feeling of unease, the listener is granted 'D'Yer Maker' which is an incredibly happy song, despite it's heartbroken lyrics (an interesting contrast.) As the album sets out on it's final stretch, 'No Quarter' starts playing. While the fact that is a song that takes a long time to build up ended up causing me to mostly disregard this track when first listening to it, I've realized that it actually has a fantastic buildup to some of Led Zeppelin's best hard-rock and overdriven riffs.

The last song on the album is one of my favourites, and a perfect closer. 'The Ocean' has a memorable and rocking riff, with some intelligent lyrics sung by the ever-musically strong Robert Plant.

The guitar work on this album is without a doubt the band's most innovative. As with all progressive music, this shows the band exploring new sounds and tastes of new forms of musical expression. I love it, and along with 'Led Zeppelin IV,' this makes up the high point of one of the greatest bands of all time. Epic.

Report this review (#206877)
Posted Friday, March 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Houses of the Holy 4/5

An album that sees a wide variety of experimentation from the gods of blues based bombast. There are many elements of this album that see the further exploration of progressive tendancies on IV ('Songs Remains the Same', 'The Rain Song', 'Over the Hills and Far Away', and 'No Quarter') and then there are just offbeat and eccentric songs that deserve no place on this album ('The Crunge', 'D'yer Ma'ker'). And then there is the weak rocker 'Dancing Days' which is subpar, and lastly the fun but middle of the road 'Ocean'. There was one point in time in which I thought this was their masterpiece, and though I still think it forms the core of their best work there are too many inconsistencies on this album (moreso than IV) for me to give it a higher ranking than III or IV.

'The Song Remains the Same' really illustrates the band's complete divorce from the type of music they were playing on I and II. This song features layered guitars, complex rhythm parts from John Bonham and JPJ drive the piece along at an incredible speed. Great tempo shifts in the piece only further solidify this as one of Led Zeppelin's best.

The music immediately merges into 'The Rain Song'. JPJ incorporates piano, mellotron and organ pedal work that blends with Jimmy's guitars to create the most intricately layered piece from these guys. And do I love them for it! Is this the same band that bored me with II? The consummation of three years of musical development in my eyes. Then the ending! Goodness did they take the dynamics of Stairway and take it to a whole different level! (This is the mystery of the quotient/Upon us all a little rain must fall)

Could it get any better? Well...yeah. And does it ever with 'Over the Hills and Far Away'. This is the blending of acoustic and electric guitar parts that was never present (aside from 'Babe I'm Going to Leave You') on I and II. Robert Plant ladies and gentlemen! Is he ever good when he sings actual lyrics that aren't incessant ramblings about his baby.

And then there is 'The Crunge'. Incessant rambling 'about my girl' exhibit A. Not to mention obnoxious 70's funk. 'Dyer Maker' isn't much better, the roots of white reggae. If only they had the foresight to substitute 'Houses of the Holy' and 'The Rover' for these two. 'Dancing Days' is a fairly decent piece, some seem to like it and others hate it. I tend to lean towards the latter though I will give it a listen unlike the surrounding two songs (which I skip).

'No Quarter' then prooves to be a hidden gem: great groove from John Bonham, amazing mood set by JPJ and his keyboards, great riff by Jimmy and awesome vocals by Robert. The highlight has to be JPJ's solo. Acoustic piano set amongst a pallet of keyboard effects that create an elegant mood, and then in come Bonzo and Jimmy creating one of the most exploratory jams Led Zeppelin graced us with. My favorite piece of theirs because for one you need to listen to it horizontally, it doesn't strike you in the face at the get-go.

Bonzo counts the band into the 'Ocean', he provides a nice groovy beat. All in all a straight up fun rock and roll number. Nothing wrong with it as it would have been better suited alongside the 'The Rover' and 'Houses of the Holy'. Their absence alone prevents this album from gaining a 5 star and the deserving title as Led Zeppelin's magnum opus.

Overall, the sheer strength of 'The Song Remains the Same', 'Over the Hills and Far Away' and 'No Quarter' push this album over the top to 4 stars. Good stuff and as always Enjoy!

Report this review (#209228)
Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I used to hate this album more than any other Led Zeppelin release but I think it wasn't fair to treat this album like that. After 4 very popular albums Zepps decided to release something more hmm experimental. But that's half true in fact. To be honest we still have to do with old fashined classical hard rock played in bluesy way. The Song Remains The Same is a bit psychedelic hard rock tune but what's funny...that is pretty funny. Having remestered version of this album everything sounds great. Really. As for 1973 album it sounds great. The Rain Song is more psychedelic. It's mostly quiet bluesy piece. Pretty nice. More typical LZ song is next one called Over The Hills And Far Away. Starts with some folk tunes but fast becomes slightly hard rockish and happy tune. Rush took something from it for their Making Memories of Fly By Night album. So I enjoy it;). The Crunge isn't typical Led Zeppelin song. It's flirting with funk. I'm not sure about this. Dancing Days is just some weird hard rock piece. Really interesting. D'yer Mak'er is something totally different from early band's ideas. It's reggae like song. Something definitely worth of attention and good for a summer. I think Sting was very inspired by that when writing Every Breath You Take (yeah lyrics) but musically it's in different tempo. Good experiment from Zepps. No Quarter is probably the mightiest song on Houses Of The Holy. It contains heavy sabbath-like riff and some psychedelic tunes as well. I must say I like it a lot. Unlike other boring early Zeppelin songs this one is truly fetching. Let's call it psychedelic hard rock. The Ocean for the end. Yeah this is typical LZ song. But I like it cos it's very edgy (due to Plant mostly). Houses Of The Holy is different from first 4 albums by the band and probably that's why I'm finding it more interesting. It' deserves 3.5 stars.
Report this review (#214652)
Posted Sunday, May 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Houses of the Holy just might be my favourite Led Zeppelin album (along with Physical Graffiti). Still it is far from being perfect. In fact, to me this album is strangely divided in two sections: There are the classic songs, and then there are the bad apples. There's little middle ground to be found here.

The album starts out fantastically with The Song Remains the Same, which is energetic and has great playing from Page. The real highlight of the album for me is The Rain Song though, what a wonderfully arranged piece of music, so elegant and light. For me it conjures up the image of a gentle, warm autumn rain, with the leaves all yellow, red and brown. Over the HIll and Far Away is another classic if you ask me, I love the quiet acoustic intro segueing into the electric main section. Other classics are No Quarter and The Ocean. Especially the former is particularly gloomy and dark in a very good way.

Dancing Days is an ok song, it's nothing special though, but a filler nonetheless. The really bad apples here are The Crunge and D'yer Mak'er. I surely can listen to them, but they are really average songs and failed experiments.

4 stars.

Report this review (#231146)
Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars After being extremely productive over a short span of three years the band finally took one year studio break before recording Houses Of The Holy. But once the album was out it showed the listeners many new shades of the band's sound.

Led Zeppelin might not be entirely progressive but they sure seemed to find it difficult to keep on track. Every time I though that I had them figured out the band would reinvent themselves and explore a different music direction on the next album. Of course I can imagine the unbearable pressure of having to follow up Led Zeppelin IV is a tough one and going in a new and fresh direction is much easier than striving for new heights in the one already explored.

Having said all that it all actually sums up to the following statement: I never liked this album!

This might seem kind of strange considering that the album before and after it are so good. Yes, the album opener is another excellent classic but then we're treated by one disappointment after the other. It is only towards the end of the album that we finally get another strong performance in the form of No Quarter but by that time the album is almost finished. I just feel that the material is laking and that it's a Led Zeppelin experiment gone wrong. Oh, did I mention that besides disliking blues I actually hate reggae? Well now you know!

***** star songs: The Song Remains The Same (5:32)

**** star songs: No Quarter (7:00)

*** star songs: The Rain Song (7:39) Over The Hills And Far Away (4:50) The Crunge (3:17) Dancing Days (3:43) D'yer Mak'er (4:23) The Ocean (4:31)

Total Rating: 3,44

Report this review (#256117)
Posted Monday, December 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Some bands fail when it comes to diversity. Led Zeppelin are the opposite. Why? Because they only attempt styles which they understand and appreciate, never venturing miles away from their comfort zone. = 'Houses of the Holy'

This is my personal favourite Led Zeppelin album. There's a mixture of genres here, but it remains loyal to the Led Zep format of riff-rock and acoustic wanderings. It's also the band's only album without a meandering blues jam (which I actually find a bit of a shame). The opening track is as familiar in style to previous albums, yet somewhat progressively, enters a world of more interesting and colourful chords, contrasting themes and passages, and an overture-like construction. But whats so great about it is that it still manages to completely rock out; and it's complexity can simply wash over those who aren't progressively inclined. I'm already impressed. Then we have the majestic and beautiful 'The Rain Song'. When I first heard this, I couldn't get enough; I was almost crying by the 5th listen. And again, it fulfils all the qualities of previous acoustic tunes, yet compositionally, is far more advanced. Plant's lyrics are fantastic too. Then in the style of 'Ramble On' or 'Tangerine', we are treated to another acoustic/electric hybrid. 'Over the Hills and far Away', following the trend, is just as accessible as previous albums' songs, yet more technical and mature, with developed sections and a suitable intro and coda. So after three "safely Zeppelin" yet developed and progressive songs, we begin to enter the extremes of the album, the diverse, the controversial, the "marmite", the crunge...

'The Crunge' is very funky. It's weird, quite humerous in approach, and not really a significant track. But in terms of the conventions of the James-Brown-esque funk scene, it's faultless. Led Zeppelin CAN do funk, so what's stopping them. Of course if that bridge was present, it would be as progressive as the first three songs, but then it wouldn't be funk! 'Dancing Days' is the only real weak track on the album; it's sort of hippy rock with pop sensibilities, but doesn't deliver the same sort of standards as the tracks on side 1. 'D'yer Mak'er', another genre-prod (this time reggae) is, no one can deny it, very catchy. It probably contains the most clichéd chord sequence EVER, and Bonham's drumming is a little too hard for reggae, but it's hard to criticise when you find yourself dancing to it. Then comes 'No Quarter', the prog-jam. This is another reason why John-Paul Jones is the most talented member of the band. The piano and jazz guitar solos are the climax. It's dark and powerful, almost Floyd-esque. And of course 'The Ocean' is a great 7/8 riff-rocker to end a great album, complete with beach boogie vocal harmonies in it's climactic coda.

Here, Led Zeppelin expand their own genre impressively, and visit other genres with a loyal and light-hearted approach. Much like it's artwork, 'Houses...' is this band's most colourful album.

Report this review (#278556)
Posted Monday, April 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars After the commercial success of their first 4 album, Zeppelin continued to reinvent themselves an instead of delivering a clone of the previous album, they went in an entirely different direction.

Or should that be directions?

The diversity on the album sure doesn't help to build a consensus about it. Some fans love this one a lot, others find it mediocre. I sure do praise Zeppelin's ambition to look forward, but the album simply lacks consistency. It's as if Zeppelin deliberately wanted to make songs in specific styles here, hard rock, blues, funk, reggae? and it comes off forced because of it. The lengthier songs are the best and are almost proggy. Even the beautiful artwork hints in that direction.

Some tracks are average at best. The Song Remains The Same takes a good start but runs out of ideas after less then a minute. Also Over The Hills misses the inspiration and the holy fire that burned on previous Zeppelin albums. The band really sounds tired and worn on all those tracks. The thin production doesn't help. On top of that, a lot of people cringe from the funk of The Crunge and the reggae of 'Jamaica'. I find these rather pleasant really, but they probably shouldn't have made it onto the album. They rather sound like B-side material.

Two songs work really well. The Rain Song sounds a bit aged, but it has a touching melancholy that almost turns syrupy, but luckily Zeppelin stays on the right side of the line dividing sentimental pose from heartfelt honesty. The album also has that one essential track that makes it so hard to give it just a little 3 stars. No Quarter is a slowly brooding blues song that has almost morphed in to progressive rock due to the dreamy dark ambience and remarkable keyboard and piano work. Also the pumping rock of Dancing Days and The Ocean aren't bad. Unfortunately they threw in a cheesy rockabilly section near the end of that last one.

One 5 star track on a 2.5 star album. Equals a thin 3 stars.

Report this review (#280471)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars What a mixed bag this album is. After creating one of the greatest rock albums of all time, Led Zeppelin returned with a just OK follow up. Despite some great songs, The Song Remains The Same, Over The Hills And Far Away (my wife's favorite song), and especially No Quarter, the Zep also has some pandering drivel. The Crunge is disco funk, supposedly a tribute to James Brown, but it falls flat on it's beat. And D'Yer Maker, once you get past the pun in the title, is not even halfway decent reggae. I can't figure out why it still gets so much airplay.

Nonetheless, the rest of the tracks make it a good album.

Report this review (#289474)
Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's tough to say what exactly happened, but for album number five, Led Zeppelin decided to make an album completely unlike anything they'd made before. I don't think it's necessarily that the band was looking to become more diverse as a whole; were that the case, they would likely have made further "experimental" albums subsequent to this, whereas they immediately went back to "basics" on their next album. It's possible that the band had looked around and seen that prog-rock was the big fad of the day and wanted to try its hand at it, but whatever happened, the band pushed itself in directions for this album that it would never pursue again.

For the first three tracks, this seems like one of the best things that the band ever did. The opening track, "The Song Remains the Same," sounds very much like the band trying to do a Yes song (don't laugh; what do you think the band was listening to in 1972, the commercial hey-day of British prog rock?), and I think they do a pretty good job of it. I can actually see somebody disliking it for much the same reasons that somebody would dislike a mid-70's Yes rocker ("Roundabout" or "Siberian Khatru," for instance); it doesn't have any real, "tangible" emotional kick to it, and it's relatively lacking in "conventional" structure (though I wouldn't say it has none; there is a melody buried in all of the ruckus, and the acceleration near the end just seems like the perfect capstone to the song). Personally, though, I think it just sounds amazingly cool, and that's enough; the layers upon layers of speedy ringing electric guitars give a sound unlike anything else in the Zeppelin catalogue, and Plant's sped-up vocal delivery is at least novel enough not to irritate it me as much as it might some others. And man, I might just be a sucker for little cool moments like this in general, but I'll be hornswaggled if that "da-da-da da-da-da DA da-da-da da-da da-daa..." part in the middle doesn't grab me every time.

Up next is the utterly gorgeous ballad "Rain Song," featuring what has to be considered one of the best (if not the best) uses of mellotron among all hard rock and heavy metal bands of that era. There isn't really any melody, just a lot of acoustic strumming overlayed with electric guitar and various keyboards, but as a mood piece, it's utterly incredible. Heck, even Bonzo exercises delicate restraint and care (except for the "climactic" part, where he starts hitting hard as usual), and the end result is a track that really has no parallels (that I'm aware of) in classic rock. The following "Over the Hills and Far Away," on the other hand, has some resemblance to "Ramble On" in its feel and acoustic/electric mix, but it's far superior, with a playful acoustic opening and a terrific minimalistic solo within.

So after three tracks, it seems like Led Zeppelin branching out is one of the better decisions in the history of rock music; the band really sounds like it can do just about anything at this point ... and then they completely blow it over the next three tracks. "The Crunge" has some humor value, but as an earnest funk number, it's an utter travesty. To say Plant is obnoxious on this track is to say nothing, and the band is incredibly stiff in backing him up. Give me the Stones and "Hot Stuff" any day over this tripe. Then, flipping over to side two, we get "Dancing Days," which I've always hated and always will hate. Both the rhythm track and Plant's vocals on the song hurt me like a cluster headache (a pain that can best be compared to a giant icicle stabbed through my eye-socket). And then there's "D'yer Maker," which is one of the lamest attempts at reggae I've ever heard, and inexplicably the song from the album that seems to get the most airplay (it's things like this that explain why I completely swore off listening to classic rock radio). Gee, guys, thanks for offsetting one of the best three-song stretches in your catalogue with one of the worst three- song stretches in your catalogue.

Fortunately, the band is at least nice enough to follow this string of futility with one of the best songs they'd ever do, the Viking epic "No Quarter." I actually once disliked it, mostly because of the vocals (for some reason, I always ended up picturing Kermit the Frog singing when I listened to it), but I was a moron. The song is a fantastic, dark, mythical sounding piece, with everything you could want out of such a number. The ominous, muffled vocals and the growling, menacing guitar riff are amazing, but it's really the keyboards that make the song (Jones again). Somehow, everything just comes together, and I just can't help but think of a giant viking ship coming out of the mist in all its silent power and glory. There's wind, there's water, and more than anything there's cold. It would actually get even better live, strangely enough, but this version is just jaw- dropping.

And finally, there's "The Ocean," which lots of people love but I only sorta like in this incarnation (the middle a capella section is the best part, as far as I'm concerned). In summary, then, there are four great tracks, one okay song, and three I'd just as soon never hear again. Truth be told, I probably shouldn't give this more than a high *** (come on, I could live without ever hearing half the tracks on here again), but then again, the best songs tend to be really awesome (and longer than the bad ones), so I guess a low **** is fine for it. I can understand loving it (I adored it at one point before I realized I hated "D'yer Maker" and "Dancing Days"), but that's not really a sentiment I can completely share.

Report this review (#292722)
Posted Friday, July 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I was never a big Led Zeppelin fan. Oh, fine, being a teenager in the 70´s I was quite aware of their big success and already large influence. In fact, I liked LZ. But not much. I guess you could call me a casual fan. I much rather hear Deep Purple or Uriah Heep at the time. But some songs I did appreciate, of course. I actually never owned one of their albums. Houses of The Holy, however, was the one I liked better when I found out about them. A friend lent me a copy and I remember I recorded it in a cassette that I had for a long time.

Only recently I had the chance to listen to this record again and I can say it is still my fave Zeppelin album. That might sound strange for most fans of the group, since this is one of the less characteristic sounding LPs they did. And this is quite the reason I enjoyed so much: it´s one of their most progressive and the one where John Paul Jones really blossomed on the keyboards. There are some great unusual songs like The Rain Song (one of their most beautiful tunes ever), No Quarter and Over The Hills And Far Away. Dancing Days which had a great guitar riff and the funny D´yer Mak´er were always favorites of mine when I was 15.

I had a lot of respect for LZ and I guess I´ll have to hear all their records again to see if I did miss something or if they were indeed not my cup of tea. But for this one I must give a fair rating, since I still find it quite attractive after all these years. Four stars.

Report this review (#387623)
Posted Thursday, January 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If anybody released an album cover like that in this day and age, they would be charged with child pornography. This is the album that would appeal most to prog fans who don't enjoy classic hard rock. I can understand some having a problem with the stylistic variety on this album. To me, however, that is one of the album's strengths. Houses Of The Holy has a lot in common with In Through The Outdoor in that both are not very hard rock-oriented, rather they explore different genres and sounds.

"No Quarter" is a pure prog song as far as I'm concerned, and it's a great one. John Paul Jones gets even more keyboard-centred on this album than previous ones. He does a great job with the Mellotron, synth and electric piano. "The Song Remains The Same" features Robert Plant's vocals slightly sped-up. This is another proggy song. One of the best parts of the album is the buildup in "The Rain Song" when Bonham comes in. Even the least proggy songs here("The Crunge", "Dancing Days", "D'Yer Mak'er", and "The Ocean") are among my favourite Zep songs. I've heard that James Brown's drummers at the time could not figure out how Bonham did that funky beat on "The Crunge". This is a funky song but is also complicated. "D'Yer Mak'er" was a reggae song at a time when most people outside the Caribbean had never heard reggae.

In many ways this was the last great Zep album. This album is proof that even big name rock bands wanted to experiment in the early 1970s. Maybe I forgot to mention that there is some dude here named Jimmy Page as well. He really starts overdubbing his guitar parts with this record. Later albums will almost be a sea of guitars. JPJ is the star of the show I think. This would be a very different album(and band) without him. A great classic rock album that would be of interest to many proggers. 4 stars.

Report this review (#395030)
Posted Saturday, February 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Houses of the Holy ' 1973 (3/5) 9 ' Best Song: Rain Song (It's actually great. Too bad nothing else is) Hmmm, Very off-putting, I found. I guess this is the 'real' Led Zeppelin goes to experimentation park ' where the picnics are full of toneless jams and butter pecan pseudo-film score spreads. Some good friends of mine say (I made that up to fill space, I don't have friends) this album is the first one where their work showcases true effort. I personally believe they spaced out on hard drugs, took a year's break to rest on their laurels and enjoy the rich extravagant rockstar life, get all lazy, and then do a record of 'lazy' progressive rock, just like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Isn't the Rain song a long lost Greg Lake superballad? Chock to the brim with googly choral hooks and wicked-ass guitar lickin's? Wait a second, that's 'Over the Hills and Far Away'. 'Rain Song''s the stupid [%*!#]ing film score, competent though it may be. I might be underrating it a tad, but no, and I swear my life on this, no album with something as hideous as 'the Crunge' on it could be 'good', with Plant sounding like a halfassed horsethroat Captain Beefheart that makes too much sense to be intriguing, but too little sense to be meaningful. It's their most diverse record to date, I'll give them that much. In all they take on a much more serious tone with the songs. Where's the playful band that wrote that super-duper joke, 'Rape song'? Don't get offended, it's only Led Zeppelin! Hey, Dancing Days contains one (1) (one) (won) tight riff and zero (it's [%*!#]ing nothing) melodies. I respect their tenacity and devotion for not being perfect. It takes a real man to intentionally sound poor, and know you're poor, but then pretend for the magazines that you're a rock God. I wonder if Page prays to himself? Oh sweet Me, will you please grant me a new car with lots of hookers in the back? Well hell yes I certainly will. You're a devoted follower, me, you will be duly rewarded.
Report this review (#441820)
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars As is often the case, Led Zeppelin open their albums in fine style. Houses of the Holy does exactly that, exploding with 'The Song Remains the Same' and then changing gears for a beautiful one, 'The Rain Song.' On the strength of these two tracks, along with 'No Quarter' and the wide range of styles present, this album is often cited as the most progressive in their catalog.

I've heard 'TSRTS' described as a 'shimmering tour de force' somewhere and I have to agree. An exciting track with some wild shifts in mood, and great guitar all around, it's even better live, especially backed with 'The Rain Song.' Jone's mellotron gives 'TRS' that otherworldly quality beloved of prog-rock, and contrasts nicely with Page's clean guitar tones and Bonham's brush-work. Again, 'The Rain Song' is even better live - check out the Zeppelin film soundtrack and you'll see it.

'Over the Hills and Far Away' starts acoustic and amps up in the manner which Zeppelin began exploring with 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' or 'Ramble On' and is a fantastic rocker. One of their best tracks without a doubt, though I feel that if the electric guitar was fuller here, it would have been even better.

The stylistic diversity on the rest of the album is a big flaw for some, and proof of Zeppelin's diversity for others. Perhaps it is both things, though I don't enjoy albums where everything stays pretty much the same, 'The Crunge' isn't a favourite for me, and 'Dancing Days' is not as good of a rocker as 'Over the Hills...' or 'The Ocean.' And while John Paul Jones in particular has gone on record as expressing his dislike of 'D'yer Ma'ker,' it is a bit of fun. Does it fit in the context of the whole album? Probably not, but I can't help liking it when bands retain a sense of humour.

No way to finish up without mentioning 'No Quarter.' A sumptuous journey into snow and shadow, it's really outstanding. Nice soloing from Page and Jones, interesting passages and lots of atmosphere. Robert's voice is heavily treated but it fits, it all fits basically, easily one of their best compositions.

Probably my most played Zeppelin album, and close to five stars, but without every song being at the same level as 'No Quarter' or the opening three, this is still an impressive four stars.

Report this review (#456261)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this album took hard-rock to soaring new heights because there are aspects from nearly any genre. It includes some of the most creative tracks that the band ever produced. There is also a more dramatic feel with Houses of the Holy. "The Rain Song" is possibly one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written with its stunning guitar composition and lush strings.

There are many things to listen out for. Such as the delicious folkish acoustic break on "Over the Hills and Far Away?", the bubbly reggae on "Dyer Maker" and the acidy groove on "No Quarter". There's also a sleazy blues rock progression on "The Ocean" and still, rhythmically, this album couldn't be more well done, and in place.

Every member showcases their talent in subtle, yet powerful ways. John Paul Jones supplies the perfect amount of bass trickery on the songs that call for it, like "The Song Remains the Same", but the main focus on this record is his raucous keyboard arrangements. There are softer melodies than before and sometimes even Plant sings with a more touchy voice, though there are still the usual cunning lyrics, helping to keep the mystical vibe that Led Zeppelin always puts forth. It's all wonderfully written. A personal favourite here is the tasty "Dancing Days". A great masterwork. This is one of my Zeppelin favourites along with Physical Graffiti. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#485451)
Posted Monday, July 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Though I found it fairly impressive on the first few listens, I personally find that Houses of the Holy is a bit of a "hollow" album - once you get over Led Zeppelin's confident move away from blues-rock (proving that, contrary to the opening track, the songs really haven't remained the same), it's hard to say that the new approach showcased on this album has much to recommend it beyond a bit of superficial flash. Two of the tracks on here are simply terrible - a third-rate attempt at reggae (D'yer Ma'ker) which mangles the reggae sound so horribly that I cringe every time I hear it, and the James Brown "tribute" The Crunge - I say "tribute" because if someone did such a lazy, unimaginative and un-funky parody of my work, I certainly wouldn't feel that they were paying tribute to me.

As for the other songs, aside from the dramatic and foreboding No Quarter - to me, the saving grace of the album - we're dealing with middle-of-the-road classic rock from a band which had formerly defined the cutting edge. The Rain Song, in particular, suggests to me that Led Zeppelin were out of ideas at this point: oh look, it's a gentle ballad awash with Mellotron. That totally hadn't got old by 1972. Snore.

Report this review (#499560)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars There are some underrated albums on this site and this is one of them. The song remains the same deserves 5 stars for the entire album (IMHO), what about the rest? I was jokimg... Rain song deserves alone 5 stars for the entire album, not The song remains the same, this one deserves 4 stars, together 9 stars and what about No quarter? 8 stars, total 17 stars...I told you that this is underrated... And my son just told me that Bonzo didn't have "double pedal" like most metal drummers!!!

Well, this is a change of style, it is somehow different from the first 4 albums and is a transition album to Physical Graffiti combining all of the features of the 4 ones and bringing new horizons (that we will see on next albums). Is this an excuse?? Well. what about music? It has plenty of music (music is not related with the first 4 albums that you did), and good music (prog or not, but rather intricate, and what is for sure, it will stay with us for some long period of time).

5 stars for sure...

Report this review (#530489)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Led Zeppelin's follow up to their masterpiece is a let down.

"Houses of the Holy" was the first Zeppelin album I could not get into like the other 4. It certainly has some shining moments such as the astounding 'The Song Remains The Same' and unforgettable works such as 'No Quarter', but the rest is a bit of a blur over the years. The album simply does not reach the peak of its predecessors.

There is beauty in the music such as 'The Rain Song' and the innovation of tracks like reggae inspired 'D'yer Ma'ker' are undisputable. However, the problem is there are no killer tracks that peak at the top of Led Zeppelin lists for me. Nothing comes close to the likes of Zeppelin classics 'Immigrant Song', 'Whole Lotta Love', 'Stairway to Heaven', 'Black Dog' or 'Dazed and Confused', instead there is a straight rock feel ; it is a straight forward approach and we ZepHeads are so used to inventive diversity with vocal Plantisms and Page's dextrous playing.

The album comes into some very mediocre territory with the likes of 'The Crunge', with its funked up rhythm. 'Dancing Days' is an un-Zeppelin sound that never resonated with me. 'Over The Hills And Far Away' is just a flower power ballad. 'The Ocean' admittedly is a great closer but by then it is too late, the album has already lost interest for me.

Overall, this is not the best or worst Zeppelin but sits somewhere in the middle. The music rocks but is nothing outstanding. It is no masterpiece and is more flawed than some may have you believe. 3 stars for the few excellent tracks.

Report this review (#533192)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9.5/10

This is the second disc I listen to Led Zeppelin after his self-titled debut and I can not fail to show how much I'm impressed. Having just come off a resounding success as Led Zeppelin IV the band course has all the pressure to produce a successor can match. The result? An album that does not disappoint in any way (every track here is special) and it shows a Led Zeppelin interested in pursuing other paths: a la James Brown funk (The Grunge), reggae (Dy'er Ma'ker) and psychedelic rock (my favorite songs, The Rain Song and No Quarter - the introduction of the latter certainly influenced Steven Wilson to compose the opening of the PT song My Ashes). Whatever Houses Of The Holy is nothing less than impressive and I'm willing to give him full marks. 5 stars.

Report this review (#571887)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars After the success of LZ4 or Zoso, Led Zeppelin had a lot of pressure on their shoulders to create a follow up. While I rated this album a three, I would give it a 3.5 rating. While Houses of the Holy features some of the group's most outstanding work, it also contains some mediocre tracks that really drag the entire album, unlike LZ4 where every single track was outstanding.

The album opens up with The Song Remains the Same, which shows the new style Zep is going to in rock; removing the blues influence and using Jimmy Page's power as a studio worker to create overdubbed guitar tracks. The song itself is fantastic and mostly instrumental. The song then leads into The Rain Song, a beautiful song filled with beautiful acoustic guitar and majestic mellotron. The next song, Over the Hills and Far Away, continues the folk rock style that Led Zeppelin employs, featuring a continuous acoustic guitar riff and Lord of the Rings influenced lyrics. Three fantastic songs in a row. This is going to be another 5 star album right?

The next song on the track is the Cringe... sorry, the Crunge. The song is highly funk influence and shows Zep's willingness to explore other genres. Actually, the musical part of the song is not that bad. It is Robert Plant's vocals and lyrics that turn it unbelievably annoying. This is also what happened with The Song Remains the Same, except that song actually had fantastic guitar work. It is a painful three-minutes to listen to. The next song, Dancing Days, seems like a masterpiece compared to the Crunge. While it is not the best song out there, it is an interesting little song containing some interesting guitar work. While entertaining, it is ultimately forgettable. The next song, D'yer Maker, is a cutesy little reggae influenced song that entertained radio audiences but made Zep fans roll their eyes.

The terrible middle portion is redeemed by the next song, No Quarter. This song shows that John Paul Jones was not only a great bass player, but a fantastic piano and mellotron player as well. The song is very avant-garde for Zep. Mellotron, piano solos, great guitar riffs, Bonzo's pounding drums and Robert Plant's haunting vocals make this into a under appreciated classic. The album closes with The Ocean, a rocker credited to all the fans Robert Plant sings to in concerts. While not up there with Immigrant Song or Rock and Roll, it is still a great rocker in its own right.

SImply put, this album is a mixed bag. It features fantastic songs (The Rain Song and No Quarter are the reason this group is on Progarchives), but also has some incredibly bad and/or mediocre songs on the album. Listening to only five of the eight songs on the album, I give this album three stars.

Report this review (#590870)
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Such a holy experience!

In my opinion The Houses of The Holy is far superiour aboth Led Zepplin's previous IV record. The styl changed from straight forward bluesbased hard-rock to experimental hard- rock with funky, orchestral and jazzy influences. Because of the experimental value of this record I find this one far more interesting.

The Song Remains The Same throws directly different themes to the listener, which were never be heard before by LZ and if someone had not listened this record yet, he wouldn't have suspected such a song by LZ: funk and hard-rock combined in a way totally new for my ears.

The Rain Song is an orchestral-sounding song with restfull moods.. This song fits quiet well in the symphonic prog scene.

Over the Hills and Far Away is a jazzy hardrock ballad with some nice acoustic tuned guitar chords. The instrumental parts within this song are experimenting and has some strange emotional load.

The Crunge is the funkiest song LZ ever wrote. Real nice and relaxing and a worthy ending track of side one of this vinyl copy.

Dancing days may be my favourite track of this record because of the real nice guitar rifts and the dancefull and swinging, but still distinctive sound. The catchiest track of the record!

D'yer Mak'er is also a swinging track. Some kind of strange lovesong/ballad with lot's of Oh- oh-oh and ah-ah-ah. Well, LZ sounded never as relaxed as on this song. A song for getting close with your partner.

No quarter had a more progressive sound with some nice synthesizer sounds and good guitar riffs.

The Ocean is the only straight forward hard-rock track on this record. This song could easily have been wrote by AC/DC (it sounds a bit like AC/DC's Back in Black), but is good ending track.

So, we will come to the conclusion. This song offers a lot of variation and is really different than LZ's earlier efforts. It's much more experimental and therefor it fit's much better in a progressive collection. For now (I only one LZ's II, IV Houses of the Holy and The Songs Remain The Same) this record is my favourite LZ record and is the only record I will recommend to others: four golden stars. One of the most original albums out of the hard- rock scene!

Report this review (#610186)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Houses of the Holy is the sister masterpiece to Led Zeppelin's fourth album. It too consists of eight tracks, two of them lengthier pieces, and the material combines heavy-hitting rock with flowery harmonic wonders, rendering it equally dynamic. Flaws are few and far between- the enchantment is throughout.

"The Song Remains the Same" A rumbling rhythm charges through. Before the main riff, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones dance around each other on their respective instruments. John Bonham's drumming complements the gritty booming as it always does. When Robert Plant enters, the music adopts a less energetic mood, with whiny, bluesy lead guitar bends. The bass playing stands out the most for me in this upbeat opener. "The Song Remains the Same" is one of those examples demonstrating how Led Zeppelin was a band that could take what a first glance might be a straightforward rock song and make it progressive and unique.

"The Rain Song" Hazy and languid, with lazy acoustic guitar and dreamy washes of Mellotron, "The Rain Song" may well be my favorite Led Zeppelin song, though I am often torn between this and "Stairway to Heaven." While their most famous piece may well have that title, this is the one that makes me feel like I'm going to leave the road and drive right up to the sun. The lyrics remain a mystery to me in Jon Anderson fashion, and I'm just fine with that. Here is a progressive rock masterpiece.

"Over the Hills and Far Away" A radio favorite, this tune opens with a jaunty acoustic guitar and light vocals before crashing into the cacophonic main riff and shrill vocals. It's a happy, carefree song with interesting layers of guitar and a quirky use of ascending notes. The end is one of the band's quietest moments, chiming out, chiming back in, and ending on a tranquil country bend.

"The Crunge" Here's where the album takes a squirrely turn. The drummer thunders in "When the Levee Breaks" style, with the bass laying down the funk. It's a disco-rock number where Plant rattles off the lyrics in streetwalker style, practically ad-libbing.

"Dancing Days" It's hard not to bob one's head along with the main groove here. The droning verses lead into a typically whiny chorus with slide guitar interruptions.

"D'yer Ma'ker" Cranking up what I call the "oldies chord progression" (I-vi-IV-V), Led Zeppelin still manages to keep the song danceable and velvety, while offering a heavier chorus. The lyrics are on the schmaltzy side, but fit the tenor of the music so well that it's hard not to imagine them in place.

"No Quarter" The second of two extended pieces, I could have sworn I'd heard Porcupine Tree cover this one. In a way, I suppose I had: "My Ashes" from Fear of a Blank Planet seems to borrow heavily from "No Quarter," in both tone and composition. It is another progressive rock masterpiece from this English quartet, featuring hushed passages, a dark atmosphere, warlike lyrics, and an evocative use of effects.

"The Ocean" Chalk up another great riff for Led Zeppelin. It has two segments, bridged by a gap of drums only. The main song breaks in the middle for a blues rock interlude followed by a fabulous melodic passage- an excellent rocker, without question.

Report this review (#614661)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars A pretty good, but not great Led Zepplin from 1973 with a cool vibe. Some classics are here like "The Crunge", "No QUarter", and "The Song Remains the Same", but just too much middling and filler type songs thrown in. I always have thought that if Led Zepplin combined half of each release with the best half of another release they would have had many 5 star albums. Filler and bluesy rock is not what I seek in my music so Led Zepplin has always been pretty hit or miss for my tastes. Not bad but just not excellent. 3 stars is my award
Report this review (#733599)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Houses of the Holy is arguably Led Zeppelin's most progressive effort, and consequently is my favorite. Perhaps what I like most is the eclecticism they achieved in this album. There is a plethora of styles present as the band is not being contained to the simple rock of their past albums.

You have the classic rocking songs in 'The Song Remains the Same,' 'Dancing Days,' 'D'yer Maker' and 'The Ocean,' the first of which is my personal favorite Zeppelin song. 'The Crunge' explores Grunge, while 'Over the Hills and Far Away' mixes folk and rock seamlessly.

'No Quarter' and 'The Rain Song' are probably the closest the band has ever been to prog. The former is a gentle, with a beautiful soundscape achieved with acoustic guitar and the wonderful mellotron. The latter has the structural diversity of a prog song, as well as some atypical instrumental work, especially with the keyboards.

Though many people believe the band's biggest achievement was Zeppelin IV, I believe it was with Houses of the Holy. This album shows the band toying with different sounds and instruments and composition in a way that is so important for the variety of music.


Report this review (#771434)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was never one of my favourite Led Zeppelin albums until very recently. I got into Zeppelin for their heavy metal influences and so the albums I enjoyed most were "Led Zeppelin", the fourth album, and "Physical Graffiti" because they had some of the heaviest songs. Particularly the debut album impressed me with its heaviness and at times its speed. "The Song Remains the Same" was always an album that was hard to love. My favourite track was "No Quarter" for its haunting atmosphere and cool guitar sound, and "The Rain Song" I liked for its beautiful music. "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "The Ocean" I liked because they were the most rocking tunes off the album. "The Crunge" and "D'yer Ma'ker" seemed to me like Led Zeppelin was trying to be funny. And the title track sounded like high speed country music with Robert Plant singing in a falsetto voice that never sat well with me.

However, in the last two years I have been really into progressive music and I have fattened up my progressive rock collection considerably. A few weeks ago I added "No Quarter" to a playlist and I struck me that this was a song with prog styling. I listened more carefully to most of the other songs, including "The Song Remains" and the album appeared in a whole new light. Led Zeppelin usually played heavy blues-based rock with a fair helping of folk music. This album still sticks close to that base, however, it seems to me that this album is likely Zeppelin's furthest foray into prog that they would attempt at least up until 1975 (I can't remember much about "Presence" because I never bought it on CD).

So, in this new light I have taken a stronger liking to the album. As with most Zeppelin albums, there is good diversity here. The playing doesn't even need mention. I think what is most admirable is the band's willingness to experiment with music beyond the borders of their established repertoire, something they always did anyway. But here they push the envelope further than before. I have new respect for that blazing country guitar playing in the title track. John Bohnam's drumming is not just powerful but strikes me as talented in ways I had not before considered. I still don't dig the falsetto vocals much but Robert Plant sounds great otherwise. And let's not forget John Paul Jones for his bass and keyboard contributions. One can't be a part of Led Zeppelin without having legendary talents. Together these four gents have produced one very interesting album.

In short, this could have been one of Led Zeppelin's finest moments, light-hearted fun tracks taken into consideration. 3.5 stars rounded up.

Report this review (#928411)
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Houses of the Holy, I think, is the cream of the Led Zeppelin crop. Looking at the ratings for other Led Zeppelin albums on this site, I see that Physical Graffiti and 4 have higher overall scores. As I mentioned in my review of 4, maybe it's just a matter of oversaturation. You don't hear songs from Houses of the Holy played on rock music stations as often. Houses of the Holy is my top choice, and I give it 4 and 1/2 stars.

There's a lot of variety on this album. Houses of the Holy encompasses the funkiness of "The Crunge" and the reggae-ness of "D'yer Maker". One of the reasons I love Houses of the Holy is the off-kilter rhythms. They're ample evidence for my belief that John Bonham was the best drummer in hard rock. What there is hardly any of on Houses of the Holy, for a change, is blues. Picking a favorite track would be extremely difficult. I like "Nor Quarter" a lot, because it's so different. My favorite might the beautiful, mellotron-drenched "The Rain". For its variety and great songwriting, Houses of the Holy earns four and a half stars.

Report this review (#1134765)
Posted Friday, February 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars A 3 stars album the exact same way that Led Zeppelin III is a 3 stars album: due to the VERY tight classification of the five stars system.

Like Led Zeppelin III it contains three fantastic songs: D'yer Mak'er, The Rain Song, and the majestic No Quarter, on of the greatest songs ever IMO.

The remaining songs have the unique Led Zep sound and all, but the are not included in their Best Of list in any way.

Some would say that it drove them to create another masterpiece the way it happened with III and IV, only my opinion is a bit different... But that's another story, for another album.

3,5 stars for this one, but what a HYMN No Quarter is.

Report this review (#1378729)
Posted Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.5 stars: A very good album for, I considered, the album with most prog elements by led zeppelin. This album contains a variety of rhythms and sounds that gives an extra appeal to hear it. The Rain Song and No quarter being the most prog songs of the band are also the most elaborated and superior in level of musical composition. The band began to experiment with new sounds, genres and production technics. John Paul Jones shines more and more in this album taken protagonism in the two song mentioned before. As other said the live versions of most of the song here are better, however they remain with the basis of this album. I liked a lot as a fan of Zepp, it is not a perfect album, however contains really good songs and show the versatility of the band and their skills in composition. However, I think They were to far in its experiment and 2 songs are forgettable (the crunge, Dancing days). 3.5 start for the proggier album of Led zeppelin.
Report this review (#2077236)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars After the great fourth album, this one is indeed a disappointment. I find most of the songs rather annoying and in a totally different style... but not in a good way. They went with some sort of caribbean, almost danceable sound or something, instead of their hard rock / blues sound that we had gotten used to. I would be tempted to give it 2 stars if it were not for the two great songs that it does have, the soft and beautiful "The Rain Song" and the proggy "No Quarter", which is among my very favourite songs from the band.
Report this review (#2477600)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2020 | Review Permalink

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